Recently, the viral posts of the #10yearschallenge has take over all the social media platforms. It is an interesting challenge as friends and families root out old photo far back as 2009 or even earlier. We all have been challenged as it is no more a new one to any user online, we will be understanding the concept of this viral challenge.
While this “10 Year Challenge” appears harmless, founder of KO Insights and the author of Tech Humanist, Kate O’Neill, says all this data “could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition.” She adds: “It’s worth considering the depth and breadth of the personal data we share without reservations.”
From the report: Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics, and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g. how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you’d want a broad and rigorous data set with lots of people’s pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart — say, 10 years. Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don’t reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it’s not uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my Facebook friends’ profile pictures shows a friend’s dog who just died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more. In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully-labeled set of then-and-now photos.
What’s more, for the profile pictures on Facebook, the photo posting date wouldn’t necessarily match the date that the picture was taken. […] Through the Facebook meme, most people have been helpfully adding that context back in (e.g. “me in 2008, and me in 2018”), as well as further info, in many cases, about where and how the pic was taken (e.g. “2008 at University of Whatever, taken by Joe; 2018 visiting New City for this year’s such-and-such event”). In other words, thanks to this meme, there’s now a very large data set of carefully curated photos of people from roughly 10 years ago and now.
In closing, Kate says it’s not necessarily bad that someone could use your Facebook photos to train a facial recognition algorithm — it’s inevitable. “Still, the broader takeaway here is that we need to approach our interactions with technology mindful of the data we generate and how it can be used at scale.”